Are We Still The 6ix?
Some may say yes. Corporate Canada will say yes, but many will also say "We were never, and will never be The SIX". Some others might even say calling the Greater Toronto Area, The6ix is not cool bro!
Either way, since the recent takeover of VIEWS (From The 6), by Drake, Toronto (GTA) has been riding it's own wave of success. It even seems like the newer generation have found a stride of glam outside of the Drizzy narrative, even though every young talent still pays homage to the Tdot OG in their music. There seems to be a fresh essence of Canadian hip-hop buzzing through the HTML airwaves. The young aren't looking to be involved with what the older heads have held so dearly and politically incorrect. They are the children OF children of 1st generation Canadians(for the most part), or the youngest siblings of families forged by this Canadian Progressive mosh-pit of ideals. Their culture and heritage is more in line with the identity of this country's largest metropolis.
This new wave generation also grew up witnessing the hustle/struggle of the previous. Online based artists who were pioneering a lifestyle, brick by brick never to be enjoyed. But these young ones are not waiting in line for their shine. They are throwing out convention and have taken the baton to run their own unique race. The sound is evolving, both production and vocal engineering-wise. There are probably more hands involved in curating the direction the city's urban culture is headed in than ever before. Each borough is starting to hone their unique flavor, while the corporate sides of Canada remain aloof in attempt to figure out how best to align themselves with the rise of fresh talent.
That has been the everlasting issue in Canada. Getting the corporate giants to see the vision of the young people before international money is involved. Harnessing the raw talent before external sources corrupt their ideals. It is an ongoing battle, but not one that this NEW WAVE of brands fear to overtake.
Whether the city is dubbed 'The6ix' everlastingly, or whether it was just a fad for a season as the NEW TORONTO takes shape, Hip-hop in the city is becoming a real thing. I still hear the pessimism of Screwfaceness, even from myself at times. But that's just be the 'old man' in me not seeing the revolution that my peers and I prayed for as young aspiring professionals growing up in this country.
It is reassuring to know that large name local artists are collaborating with up-and-coming local artists. It is amazing to see the level of networks that are forming outside of the conventional ways of industrializing music. Toronto might be the home of decentralized Hip-Hop. We aren't quite there as yet, but the way things are looking, we are definitely the closest to it.